Big East Should Add Somebody

Adding a ninth team makes plenty of sense for conference

March 26, 2008

By Trev Alberts

Special to


Trev Alberts is a football analyst for CBS College Sports and

You've got college football questions and CSTV football analyst Trev Alberts has answers and opinions. Each week Alberts will be answering questions and queries on the world of college football. So if you've got a question for Trev? Just ask him.


Randy Edsall said the Big East needs to expand. If you were the conference, would you expand and what teams would you look to bring in? - Jason, CT


It does make a lot of sense. The Big East is still trying to sort itself out from the defections a few years back so anytime you talk about conference expansion the conversation has to take awhile because you need a good fit. But you can understand what Edsall is talking about. Revenue is so important to these colleges and if you happen to be that team in the Big East that doesn't get that fourth home game that certainly hurts you. So you'd at least like to be able to expand to nine and in a perfect world they'd be 12 teams, split off into divisions so they could hold a championship game for revenue.


The most important thing for the Big East is that they've done such a great job of transitioning and building some strength from within and adding some valuable members for football like USF and Louisville. But in terms of adding a new team, I would look to a school like UCF to bring aboard. It's so important to find a college that's made the investment in coaching and facilities and certainly UCF has done that. They have a new stadium and they've competed at elite levels and they have a natural rival with South Florida. Having broadcast that game, you find out they don't like each other, but that's what makes college football fun.


Edsall has an excellent point. I'm sure it's something commissioner Mike Tranghese is looking at, but it has to be the right fit. And of course, you know Mike Tranghese is at least sympathetic to taking teams from other conferences because he knows how painful it was when those three teams bolted for the ACC. It takes time, but it'll be just a matter of time before they pick up a team that makes sense geographically.


It looks like Terrelle Pryor could see some time behind Todd Boeckman, like Tim Tebow a few years back. Does it makes sense using Pryor in that kind of situation or should Ohio State just leave Boeckman alone? - Rey Bridell, Ohio


I think the one thing Urban Meyer probably didn't get enough credit for was his ability to use Tim Tebow in a way that didn't take away from the effectiveness of Chris Leak. It's a delicate situation when you use two quarterbacks and every situation is different. Trying to force a situation on a team, just trying to get a guy onto the field, is never a good thing.


The thing about Terrelle Pryor is that we don't know how supremely gifted he is as a student. We know how gifted he is as an athlete, but we found out that Tim Tebow could handle all his workload his freshman season. There's more to being just a football player. If it makes sense, certainly you don't want to take anything away from the effectiveness of Todd Boeckeman. You'd have to evaluate the relationship between him and Pryor. Of course we all want to see his abilities, but at the same time Ohio State knows they already have a really gifted quarterback.   


But if I'm a defensive coordinator at Michigan, Wisconsin or wherever, and I know at any point Pryor comes in and runs a completely different offense, it puts a lot of pressure on my defense. You could imagine a small package to see how he handles it initially, but if he doesn't handle the academic part of it, it might be best to red-shirt him. Jim Tressel's a smart man. He'll figure it out.


USC will name a starter heading into fall camp. Is it really that much of an advantage to name a starter after spring practice or just wait a few weeks before the season starts? - Kris L., Calif.


I agree completely with that decision by Pete Carroll. I understand completely the idea in spring practice, especially If you're a new coach, that you communicate to your team that every position is open for competition. Nobody has earned the right to be a starter. No matter if you're a junior or senior. Now if you're an all-conference player, chances are you have a pretty good idea that you'll earn a job. But making players compete can motivate that all-conference player and he gets even better. I like open competition, the players are there to compete.


But once you get to fall camp, once spring practice is over with and the summer has passed, you've been able to evaluate the candidates. Especially with quarterbacks, you see their leadership abilities and how they handle the team away from the field. And with fall practice time so precious, you better have a guy that can take his team and lead them.  


Unless you truly have two or three guys and you can't make a decision, I can understand not naming a starter after spring practice. But for the sake of just saying it's open competition when in the back of your mind you already know who it's going to be, the right decision is always going to be to name starter and let the team rally around him. Chemistry is so often overlooked. Intangibles separate very good quarterbacks from good quarterbacks. Those guys at USC are elite quarterbacks and I think you'll see better play early on from whoever wins the job when Carroll makes an early decision.

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